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If the Parliamentary Returns, now course with foreign states, and all collected and condensed with 80 the countries to which the recipromuch accuracy in Porter's Parlia, city system applies; and that the mentary Tables, are more minutely deficiency has been solely made up investigated, it will at once appear by the vast increase of the colonial where it is that British shipping has trade, which hitherto fortunately has so wofully fallen off, and in what been preserved entire from the mobranches it has increased, and in a dern system. A few returns will great degree counterbalanced the at once demonstrate this important other's deficiency. It appears that fact. the falling off of British, and in- The following table exbibits the crease of foreign shipping, has growth of our colonial shipping and been most signal in all our inter- tonnage from 1820 to 1831.
New Holland. East Indies. Canada. West Indies.
504,211 229,117 Now, here is a progress which re- dies--a portion of the British emminds us of the prosperous days of pire, in which it has actually fallen the British Empire. . Here are va off; the insane and oppressive porious branches of trade carried on Jicy so long pursued by our Governwith our own colonies, and, of course, ment towards those splendid Coloentirely in British vessels, in which nies, having more than counterbathe growth of our mercantile navy lanced all the richest gifts of nature, has been really prodigious. In --a virgin soil, a tropical sun, luxutwelve years the tonnage employed riant vegetation, and scenery of al. in the trade to New Holland has most fabulous beauty. multiplied teNFOLD : in the same Contrast this striking and gratifytime, that employed in the Canada ing result with the working of the trade, has risen from 340,000 to reciprocity system in the three coun500,000 tons, or nearly a fifth of the tries which Mr Huskisson specified, whole trade of the Empire. This is as affording the inductive cause of the state of our Colonial trade; the change of system, viz. America, growing rapidly and steadily in Prussia, and the Netherlands :every quarter except the West loAMERICA.
Foreign. Years. Tons.
Tons. 1820 29,490 159,418 87,451 60,450 69,618 43,684 1821
140,776 79,590 37,720 71,631 47,121 1822 73,853 156,054 102,847 58,270 70,049 62,618 1823
165,609 81,202 86,013 61,353 87,035 1824 44,994 153,475 94,664 151,621 68,285 107,729 1825 38,943 196,863 189,214 182,752 87,671 117,366 1826 47,711 151,765 119,060 120,589 101,842 81,199 1827 73,204 217,535 150,718 109,184 119,538 81,938 1828 80,158 138,174 133,753 99,195 129,223 80,901 1829 61,343 162,327 125,918 127,861 117,661 97,593 1830 65,130 214,166 102,758 139,646 120,301 92,811 1831 91,787229,869 83,908 140,532 ! 187,456 82,419 VOL. XXXV, NO, CCXXI,
Thus, it appears, that the recipro- of measures which are to consign city system, introduced, as Mr Hus. themselves to irretrievable ruin. And kisson stated, under the threat of in America, notwithstanding the retaliatory measures from Prussia, brilliant prospects held out of the has had the effect of diminishing rapid growth of British shipping the British tonnage employed in the that would result from the reciprotrade with that country, from 87,000 city system, the American shipping, tons annually to 83,000, and of in- ever since the commencement of creasing the Prussian from 60,000 the reciprocity system with that in 1820, to 140,000 in 1831. The country, which began in 1820,* bas Netherlands exhibited the same re. varied from a fifth to a third of that sult till 1830; the British shipping belonging to the harbours of the Unihaving only increased during that ted States. time from 70,000 tons to 117,000, We shall add only one other set that is, somewhat more than a half; of returns to the numerous details whereas the foreign had increased with which we have overloaded this from 43,000 to 97,000, or more than paper. It is the return of the numdoubled. Since the Revolution of ber of ships built in the British do. 1830, almost the whole trade of the minions since the reciprocity system Netherlands has fallen into the hands began, as compared with the exports of the British; a memorable instance and imports before that important of the insanity of manufacturing de- change in our policy, magogues in urging on the adoption
Vessels Built and Registered.
Exports. . Years. Great Britain & Ireland. Colonies. 1820 635 248 L.31,484,000
L.48,343,000 1821 597 275 29,724,000
50,796,000 1822 571 209 29,401,000
52,770,000 1823 604 243 34,591,000
51,773,000 1824 837 342 36,141,000
58,218,000 1825 1003
55,608,000 1826 1131 588 36,069,000
61,082,000 1828 857 464 43,396,000
66,072,000 1830 750
70,820,000 1832 758
76,071,000 This Table is highly instructive as the operation of the reciprocity systo the working of the reciprocity tem, because the ships built in the system. It thence appears, that colonies during the same period while the imports of the empire have have fully kept pace with the growth increased, since 1820, a half, and the of our foreign trade, the quantity exports have risen in the same pro- annually built in those distant posportion, the ships annually built now sessions baving increased from about are only a sixth greater in the Bri- 250 to 375, or just a half. If the ships tish islands than at the commence built at home had kept pace with ment of that period, and, in fact, they our foreign commerce, and not been are hardly so numerous at this time depressed by some peculiar cause, as they were twenty years ago, when instead of the quantity annually our foreign trade was little more built being now 750, it would have than half its present amount.f This been 1100. result is the more instructive as to We shall only add, that the num.
* The reciprocity was begun in 1820, by a separate regulation for America.
ber of British ships that passed the armed neutrality will resound Sound in 1831, was 4772, and in through the Baltic; the avengers of 1832, only 3330, exhibiting a decrease the 2d April will start up round the in the latter year of 1442; while in Trekroner Battery of Copenhagen; foreign vessels there was an in- the shades of De Ruyter and Van crease of 1125 in the latter year, as Tromp will reanimate the Dutch; compared with the former-a deci- the recollection of the Nile and Trasive proof of the working of the re- falgar stimulate the French; the dig. ciprocity system in the Baltic trade. grace of St Vincent's and Cadiz
Proceeding upon the data already rouse the inert spirit of the Spaobtained, it is possible to predict, niards. Where shall we find another with tolerable certainty, the period Nelson-a second Blake, to dispel when our maritime superiority must the confederacy? Even if the spirit be at an end, our colonial empire of these heroes of the deep should broken up, and our national inde descend upon their successors, pendence irretrievably destroyed. where shall we find the dauntless Eight years of the reciprocity sys- seamen, the boundless resources, tem have put a total stop to the which a patriotic Government placed growth of our own shipping, while it at their command i These resour. has doubled that of the other Euro. ces are not only lost to us, but they pean powers, and raised their ton- are gained to our enemies; the shipnage entering our harbours from ping of Europe has not diminished, 433,000 to 896,000. At the same rate, it has only changed hands; as much in eight years more, the foreign ship- as the British pendant has disappearping which we nourish with our ex- ed from the ocean, have foreign ports and imports, will be 1,800,000 flags increased; as much as naval tons, and in sixteen 3,600,000; or strength has passed from us, has it above a million more than the whole grown in the harbours of our eneshipping of Great Britain ! Our mies. With our own hands we have whole maritime strength will then laid the axe to the root of our proshave passed over to our enemies; perity; with our eyes open we have the commerce of England, carried on transferred the sinews of our strength in foreign bottoms, will have put into to other States ; with our own arms their hands the weapons which are to we have torn up the foundations of destroy us, and the British empire our national greatness, and prepared will be numbered with the things slavery for ourselves and our chilthat have been!
dren! Then will appear at once, how If the increase of British shipping universal, how profound, is the jea- had followed, as it always did, dulousy of the English maritime power, ring the period when the Navigation which has so long been nursed by Laws were in force, the augmentation Continental States. An alliance, of our exports and imports,* the cordial as that which took place growth of our shipping and tonnage against France,-a crusade univer- since 1823 should have been about a sal as that which overthrew Napo- half : instead of 2,600,000 tons, the leon, will at once be formed. From British empire should have possessed the east and from the west, from the 3,700,000 tonnage of shipping. Where north and from the south, the crusa- has the difference gone? Over to ding warriors will come forth; the our enemies; to Russia, Prussia, the liberty of the seas will be their Netherlands, France, and America; watchword; the principles of the the very powers whose hostility
* Take as an example the parallel growth of British Exports, Imports, and Shipping, from 1788 to 1814. Imports. Exports.
L.17, 122,000 L.11,729,000 13,827 1,363,488 1792, 19,659,000 18,336,851 16,079 1,510,145 1800,
29,925,858 24,411,067 18,877 1,905 438 1810,
45,616,858 30,170,292 23,708 2,426,044 181),
42,646,843 37,613,294 24,106 2,474,774 1812, 27,840,250 25, 210,904
against the maritime superiority of every time that a vessel enters or this country is inveterate; who, dif- clears out, its tonnage is entered in fering on most other subjects as far the customhouse books, it follows, as the poles are asunder, cordially that the British vessels, which make concur in that one feeling of envy in great part the short foreign voyand animosity.
ages, and are so frequently entered, Let the opinions of the continen- must exhibit an array of tonnage in tal writers, and journalists, and his proportion to their amount, incomtorians, be examined. It will be parably greater than the foreign, found, that, differing on almost every which are engaged in the more reother subject, they are unanimous mote. For the same reason, the in their hatred at Great Britain; tonnage of the Netherlands and Prusthat royalists and republicans, Car- sia exhibits a much greater apparent lists and Doctrinaires, Russians and increase than that of Russia or AmeFrench, Dutch and Prussians, all rica. If this important circumstance concur in invectives against the Bri- is kept in view, and applied to the tish maritime power, and panegyrics returns already laid before the readon all the sovereigns who have en- er, it will probably be deemed no exdeavoured to unite the European aggeration to affirm, that, while the Powers into one formidable maritime British shipping, since the reciproleague against this country. Even city system began, has stood still, the terrors of Napoleon, and the that of foreign nations carrying on pressing dangers of his tremendous the commerce of Great Britain, has power and insatiable ambition, were more than doubled. unable to divert them from this one The impolicy of the reciprocity favourite object; and the confedera- system, therefore, is now demonstra. cy of the Baltic Powers in 1800, ted, by experience, beyond the possi. which was dissolved by the death of bility of a doubt; and it is equally Paul and the cannon of Nelson, evident, that if persevered in for meets with unqualified approbation ten years longer, it will raise up the from every continental writer with shipping of foreign pations to a level out exception; although the only with our own, and at once destroy effect of success, on the part of the our naval superiority and national league, would have been to subject independence. them permanently and irrecoverably We do not deny, that when Mr to the military power of France. So Huskisson broke up the Navigation far does this fancied grievance of the Laws in 1820 and 1823, be had great dominion of the sea by Great Britain difficulties to contend with ; and that carry them, that their most enlight the obstacles recently arisen, which ened writers of all parties speak of then appeared to him to render an it as the most serious misfortune of abandonment of that system necesmodern times, and an evil which sary, were most embarrassing. We has more than counterbalanced in feel the force of what he so conits ultimate effects the downfall of stantly urged, that the monopoly, or the Napoleon dynasty.
exclusive advantages given to British It is into the hands of powers, and shipping by that act, would work people animated with these senti- smoothly only so long as foreign naments, that the reciprocity system is tions, either from fear, supineness, rapidly and steadily transferring the or indifference, did not attempt meanaval resources of England.
sures of retaliation; and that the It will probably occur to every moment they did so, a most distressimpartial person, that the preceding ing embarrassment would arise, tables exhibit a sufficiently alarming which might considerably prejudico view of the relative effect of the re- our export trade. All that is perciprocity system upon British and fectly true ; but what we rest upon foreiga naval strength. But in truth, is this—Defence is of more importthe reality is much beyond what ance than wealth ; it is better to have these figures would lead us to sup- liberty than worldly goods. Consi. pose. For, as the British sbipping derations of opulence or conveniis much employed in the trade to ence are as nothing, when put in the adjoining States, and foreign ves- comparison with national independ. sels in the intercourse with their ence. If matters had come to that pass, own more distant countries, and as that one or other required to be sa
crificed, better, far better, abandon gradually ousted ; and, amidst the the increase of your foreign exports, prosperity of every other class, the than consign your wooden walls to sinews of its national defence are destruction. We have manufactu- rapidly and irretrievably withered. rers and artisans, with their inevit. Twenty or thirty years of such a able attendants of public demora- progress, are amply sufficient to prolization, Trades' Unions, and demo- strate the strength of the greatest cratic fervour in abundance! What naval power in existence; or rather, we want, is such an increase in our to transfer the vehicles of its foreign maritime resources as may keep commerce to its enemies, and hand pace with the rapid strides which over to foreign powers the instruother nations are making in that par- ments of its national subjugation. ticular. We take our stand on tbe When once the corner has been principles of Adam Smith, that there turned-when once the foreign shipare occasions on which the prin- ping which it employs has come to ciples of free trade must yield to the equal its own, it stands on the unhigher considerations of public safe- stable equilibrium, and the slightest ty and national independence; that stroke will produce an overthrow. the Navigation Laws were framed, Like Charles XII, or Napoleon, it accidentally or designedly, it matters has taught its enemies how to connot,-with consummate wisdom for quer it; it has placed in their hands that purpose; and that nothing short the means of its own destruction. of the blockade of the Thames and An Ægospotamos, a Pultawa, a Leipthe Medway, by an enemy's fleet, sic, may in a day array the forces it the burning of our arsenals at Ports. has nourished in its bosom, against mouth and Plymouth, a disaster as its existence. great as the Nile or Trafalgar was to These apprehensions will not apour enemies, should have made us pear chimerical to those who consider resign what was our main security how rapidly all the greatest mari. for the sceptre of the ocean.
time empires recorded in bistory The deplorable thing now is, that bave been prostrated; how instanforeign shipping is so rapidly en- taneously the sceptre of the ocean croaching upon British in the com- slipped from the hands of Athens, merce of the United Kingdom, that Tyre, Venice, Portugal, and Holland. every addition to our exports and Far more rapid than the decay of a imports, so far from adding to our great military state, is the fall of national strength, is a direct subtrac- such naval powers; a single disaster tion from it, and is so much gained overwhelms them; they find themto the forces which are ultimately to selves suddenly blockaded in their be turned against us. That is the harbours. The world cannot want decisive circumstance. So rapid is carriers, and the whole naval resourthe growth, under the reciprocity ces on which their greatness forsystem, of foreign shipping in our merly depended, is at once transown harbours, that it is easy to fore- ferred to their enemies. Such dansee the time when they will have gers are unavoidable, and naturally obtained a decisive superiority over incident to that species of dominion. our own; and when, on the first rup- But we have anticipated the stroke; ture, or the first maritime disaster, voluntarily transferred the sinews of the naval forces which we have nur- strength to our enemies; with our sed in our bosom, will at once be ar- own hands trained up the naval force rayed against us. This is the inevi. which is one day to be the instru. table fate of a great and old com- ment of our destruction. mercial state, when it does not main Vain are the hopes of maintaining tain, by positive regulations, exclu- any thing like prosperity to this sive advantages to its own shipping, country, if our naval superiority is because the high taxes, duties, and at an end. The British oak constiwages of labour, with which such a tutes the bond which holds together community necessarily becomes the scattered parts of this mighty burdened, render it an easy matter dominion. The instant it is dissolfor the sbipping of younger and less ved, the splendid fabric will fall to embarrassed states to undersell it pieces ;-our possessions in every in the transport of goods; and thus, part of the world will drop off, dein the conflict, its own shipping is clare themselves independent, or